What expectations should we have of elected officials?

1,934 Views | 19 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by prymetyme07
Agmaker
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With upcoming filings for local positions maybe it's a good discussion topic.
I'll start off with:
At a bare minimum, Professionalism.
turfman80
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AG
Not to be in the back pocket of developers
"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
prymetyme07
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Officials who don't vote to spend money on wasteful things like:

  • Gateway signs (we have a giant water tower to the South of town that is the indicator you are in College Station)
  • Enormous Fire Stations (Looking at you Station 6)
  • Separated Fire/police Headquarters that would double operating expenses, as opposed to having both out of the same buildings. (moving Fire administration to the old PD building that floods notoriously during bad storms and has a plethora of other issues)
  • Pavilions at places like Lick Creek Park (Was the perfect place to go before that monstrosity was introduced)
  • A study on the feasibility of making University Drive a Double-stacked Highway (seriously? We just finished the redesign of University)
  • As well as:
  • Officials who would work with Texas A&M but not bend over backwards for Sharps good graces
  • Officials who don't cry to the media because they can't screw over people with extortion level property taxes (voting for anything over 3.5% should've been in place already)
  • Officials who ACTUALLY LISTEN to the needs of the citizens
bushytailed
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I expect a mayor to understand why it's not okay to say "I don't mean to sound sexist, but..." when speaking to groups of people.
agrab86
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AG
We should expect our local office holders to act almost exclusively in their own self interest, so we need to keep a very close eye on them and hold them accountable to us, the voter.

Why do I say this? I know a lot of our local office holders and I like and agree with them for the most part. But some of these folks are raising and spending 10s of thousands of dollars for positions that pay nothing (school boards and CS council) or $10/mo (Bryan council) while requiring a ton of time and effort.

Why do they do this? They must want to improve their own lot in life in some way. For some, it's the desire for higher office, in which case their actions must also please enough voters to advance, so they keep the voters in mind when governing. For others, it's personal financial gain or financial gains for their friends/supporters, These types are less likely to care what voters think and, as a result, need to be watched really closely. The last type are those who think they know what's best for everyone, the nanny-state governing type. They don't desire higher office nor personal gain, but many of these types (not all) don't care what the voters want, but only that they themselves know what's best for the masses. Hopefully, these kinds never get elected because they can do great harm.

Anyway, I hope this helps. Remember this when voting. And pay close attention to those who raise tons of $$.
agnerd
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AG
Let's step back to reality for a second. Your expectation should be that your representative is trying to get re-elected. If you don't agree with that, you need to become a single-issue voter that opposes multiple terms.

Everything else a politician does is to achieve goal #1. So they try to piss off the FEWEST number of people possible. Sometimes that means that they do something that YOU do not agree with (OMG the HORROR!!!). Lot of people seem to think their rep represents ONLY them, and not everyone else in the district too.

Just look at how many people complain about raising taxes and then also complain about how bad traffic is. You can't fix traffic without tax dollars. The problem isn't the politicians...the problem is that voters show that they only care about me, me, me with the way they vote, and don't actually care about the greater good based on how they vote. Politicians are only acting according to how voters vote.
Agmaker
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Really good thought provoking comments on here.
I would also add, regardless of money or even if it's a paid or unpaid elected position, if they are incumbents one can easily judge their past performance and behavior which is what voters should do. Do they act with contempt for their constituents? Such as, lets say, writing or stating disparaging comments about folks that question their actions? Do they profess to be the expert because they've been doing it for so long but then contradict themselves and try to "pretend" not to remember how things went down in the recent past? Do they get angry if the voters easily connect the dots of obvious shenanigans. This holds true for any local elected office. City Council, Tax Collector School Board, County Commissioner and so on. These are all key signals to the voters to hold them accountable.
Charli
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Budget.
Does the candidate understand the reality of a budget?
Does the candidate know where the money for a budget comes from? - us, the taxpayers
Willing to vote for a budget cut? - not all budget cuts are bad.
GSS
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Many elected officials (with realty/business backers) consider anyone questioning growth as a Neanderthal, what nonsense to not throw incentives at developers and business, we NEED the tax base....followed by "of course we have to raise taxes and valuation, how else do you expect us to deal with strained infrastructure and traffic issues?" Seems to be a standard MO for city and county governments. But lots of $$$ was made....
Drilltime
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Nobody is anti-business or anti-neighborhood, and yet in 2017 when the council was 5-2 pro-developer they made some extremely anti-neighborhood decision. I don't think any of them were evil. You just don't have the same conversation, consider the same facts, or evaluate them the same if your council doesn't have some diversity in its personal experiences. Because of the political backlash from 2017, the council is now 4-3. The pro-developers still has the majority but there are swing voters in the middle they must be mindful of. As a result, the decisions made in 2018 and 2019 have also been more balanced. .

I would still like the see a few years with a 3-4 council, assuming the neighborhood candidate is stil pro-business. The long term issue is that in 2020 there will again be a large, uninformed local turnout for the national election. Money will win as it did when the pro-developer candidate in 2018 outspent their opponent 3 to 1 ($30k for a council seat). If neighborhoods and families do not have a majority going into 2020, they are certain to end up at 5-2, or worse. Is it good for your city if all of your council members are investors, developers, real estate agents or lawyers?
PS3D
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prymetyme07 said:

Officials who don't vote to spend money on wasteful things like:

  • Gateway signs (we have a giant water tower to the South of town that is the indicator you are in College Station)
  • Enormous Fire Stations (Looking at you Station 6)
  • Separated Fire/police Headquarters that would double operating expenses, as opposed to having both out of the same buildings. (moving Fire administration to the old PD building that floods notoriously during bad storms and has a plethora of other issues)
  • Pavilions at places like Lick Creek Park (Was the perfect place to go before that monstrosity was introduced)
  • A study on the feasibility of making University Drive a Double-stacked Highway (seriously? We just finished the redesign of University)
  • As well as:
  • Officials who would work with Texas A&M but not bend over backwards for Sharps good graces
  • Officials who don't cry to the media because they can't screw over people with extortion level property taxes (voting for anything over 3.5% should've been in place already)
  • Officials who ACTUALLY LISTEN to the needs of the citizens

Some of that isn't "wasteful". Station 6 is actually a pretty decent building in what is otherwise a nice corridor, it boggles my mind how people complain how Station 6 is "wasteful" yet they decry the old Albertsons building sitting empty. Also, what's wrong with separated police and fire headquarters? They're different departments, and no one combines them unless they're smaller towns or part of some mega municipal building. And Lick Creek Park, while a pavilion may not be the thing it needs, it has become increasingly suburban since the city first approved the Lick Creek Master Plan twenty years ago.

hopeandrealchange
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prymetyme07 said:

Officials who don't vote to spend money on wasteful things like:

  • Gateway signs (we have a giant water tower to the South of town that is the indicator you are in College Station)
  • Enormous Fire Stations (Looking at you Station 6)
  • Separated Fire/police Headquarters that would double operating expenses, as opposed to having both out of the same buildings. (moving Fire administration to the old PD building that floods notoriously during bad storms and has a plethora of other issues)
  • Pavilions at places like Lick Creek Park (Was the perfect place to go before that monstrosity was introduced)
  • A study on the feasibility of making University Drive a Double-stacked Highway (seriously? We just finished the redesign of University)
  • As well as:
  • Officials who would work with Texas A&M but not bend over backwards for Sharps good graces
  • Officials who don't cry to the media because they can't screw over people with extortion level property taxes (voting for anything over 3.5% should've been in place already)
  • Officials who ACTUALLY LISTEN to the needs of the citizens



Hear Hear.
prymetyme07
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[We do not allow rumors without facts backing them up on this board. -Staff]
cslifer
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I haven't heard the "I know a bunch of stuff but won't tell y'all because they will kill me" in a while. If there are real issues with that Station share them. Issues with a public building aren't secrets.
Also, what are elected leaders supposed to do about a privately owned empty building (Albertsons)? How can they "get it right" as you say?
prymetyme07
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They're not secrets but they're not issues publicly shared unless requested.

Open records request If you dont believe me

[If posters are going to put allegations on this board they are going to post the facts and not hide behind statements like that. -Staff]
cslifer
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I see you don't really know how an open records request works. They have to be specific to be useful. You don't just send one in saying "issues with fire station 6", or "who killed JFK". Again issues with public buildings are not supposed to be kept secret, we all have a vested interest in knowing. If you know about serious issues and don't share them then you aren't any better than the elected officials you complain about.
PS3D
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prymetyme07 said:

PS3D said:

Officials who don't vote to spend money on wasteful things like:

...

Some of that isn't "wasteful". Station 6 is actually a pretty decent building in what is otherwise a nice corridor, it boggles my mind how people complain how Station 6 is "wasteful" yet they decry the old Albertsons building sitting empty. Also, what's wrong with separated police and fire headquarters? They're different departments, and no one combines them unless they're smaller towns or part of some mega municipal building. And Lick Creek Park, while a pavilion may not be the thing it needs, it has become increasingly suburban since the city first approved the Lick Creek Master Plan twenty years ago.






Thank you for adding Albertsons to my list of things future leaders need to get right.

In regards to the joint Public safety building:

McKinney has one and it works fine. The current Police station is in a location, that as stated above, floods heavily during heavy rain events. This causes people to have to go and move vehicles and equipment to higher ground. The current police department building also has internal issues including malfunctioning or frequently inoperable elevators.

You take two services in two different buildings and it causes you to double such things as:

Janitorial supplies
Building upkeep and maintenance
Landscaping services that public works provides
As well as other operating expenses
If the city bought the Albertsons building, we'd all sorts of people clamoring in here about the city shouldn't be its own developer, just like how it bought the Chimney Hill shopping center.

And what about the police station? It can't expand due to the flood area, besides, it's surrounded by a park. Should they just demolish it entirely, and leave that as an essentially abandoned area maintained by the city? On that note, if the whole "separate upkeep" is such a big issue, were you on board with that plan the city made about 12 years ago or so with the city facilities built around Dartmouth Road and a big traffic circle between Krenek Tap and 2818?

hopeandrealchange
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Oh so true.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."

Groucho Marx
prymetyme07
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prymetyme07
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There have already been instances of retaliation for going to news media about city issues. Therefore, I prefer to not take that risk and it is why I remain somewhat vague.

[Not on this board. Vague rumor posts will be removed. -Staff]
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